Students are taking their time to complete college – if they complete college at all – in the United States. Recent statistics report that around 60% of students complete a four-year bachelor’s degree in six years, and more and more students are taking time off never to return. This means that the question of whether or not to list an unfinished degree on a resume is commonplace amongst today’s jobseekers.
It is commonly thought that listing an unfinished degree shows that the jobseeker has trouble committing and following through. Earning a degree is a long-term commitment that requires a lot of work, cooperation, and personal growth. It shows that the jobseeker can commit years of his or her life to work towards a goal that does not have immediately gratifying payoffs. Dropping out is thought to show poor follow-through, and poor long-term planning. But is this true now that it accounts for a big chunk of the aspiring workforce?
The answer is complicated. A resume should tell the best story of the jobseeker. If the education that has been earned aligns with the job that is sought, it is advised to include the courses completed under a heading entitled “Job Enhancement Training” or “Continuing Education” rather than emphasize that these courses were taken as part of an incomplete degree. Placing the education section at the end, rather than at the beginning of a resume will put the education in perspective, augmenting a jobseeker’s work experience and objective in applying for this particular job. An incomplete degree does not mean incomplete education if the education accomplished supports the jobseeker’s ability in the field in which the job is sought. Including incomplete education is also a great way to fill in employment gaps that you may have for taking time off of work to go to school.
However, a complete degree is always better than an incomplete one. If you have work experience and college coursework, talk to us. Chances are, you have already completed the equivalent of a US bachelor’s degree, and you should be reaping the benefits of the work you have accomplished. Visit us at thecareerpeople.com.